Chirp and Chatter Pages

Friday, March 3, 2017

Author Interview: Gail Kittleson

What inspired you to write With Each New Dawn?
This book continues the story of Addie and Kate, two young World War II women from Iowa. Their saga simply couldn’t stop at the end of the first book, so I kept writing. I couldn’t stop!
Which character in your new release did you most enjoy writing? Why?
I’d have to say Domingo, the Basque shepherd-turned guide and French Resistance saboteur. Domingo had no desire to do anything but spend his life at his ancestral home near a small French village. The work he inherited from his papa and grandfather, caring for a flock of sheep on the beautiful meadows and hills of the Department of Lot in Southern France brought him satisfaction.
Besides that, his commitment to Sancha, his betrothed, included dreams of a family and a quiet life. But Sancha’s murder by Nazi oppressors changes Domingo’s plans. He learns the meaning of revenge, and deepens in his concept of mercy. Still grieving his loss when he meets Kate, he has no idea how much more the war will change his life.
What I like best about Domingo is his humble attitude—he does what he can to aid the Resistance, seeks no glory, and longs for the return of the simple, beautiful way of life the war threatens to destroy.
What, if anything, do you and your heroine have in common?
Kate is much more of a risk-taker than I am. Probably I’m more like her best friend, Addie, with far too much fear. But Kate and I do share the propensity to ask questions. Oh my...yes!
Experience has taught me that our doubts and questions fail to alter God’s love for us, that His commitment to carry us through goes far deeper than our mental and emotional ups and downs. We’re human, so we fluctuate, but our Creator remains constant. No matter what.
Kate has been through so much grief and loss. An orphan from childhood, she also grieves her aunt, her husband, and during the first part of With Each New Dawn, her firstborn.  But most of all, an insistent desire to know more about her parents haunts her. What were they like and why did they die so young?
I’ve never experienced orphanhood, but have longed to make sense of things for many years. Back to Kate and me sharing a questioning mind.
What spiritual theme does this book include? How did it come to be a part of this story line?
Most people would agree that war brings out the worst in society. But conflict seems an inevitable part of history. The World War II era had lived through World War I, knew its horrors, and yet found themselves plunged into another terrible series of battles spread all over the world.
Both Kate and Domingo deal with spiritual questions—and so does another character, a wily Catholic priest active in the Resistance. He suffers great loss as well, when the Waffen S.S. ravages his hometown. Vulnerable and mourning, he finds Kate’s questions very much like his own. Where is the Almighty in all this?
As these characters grapple with impossible circumstances, their faith grows. Seems highly unlikely, but don’t we all grow through the worst of times?
What household task do you most dislike? Which do you most enjoy?
I’ve never liked to vacuum. Actually, I don’t like housecleaning at all, but at least there’s the satisfaction at the end, when things look their best for a while. Maybe it’s the fleeting nature of that state that makes cleaning seem such a futile use of valuable time. Let’s see, I must enjoy something…I don’t mind doing dishes. There’s something relaxing about that task.
What makes you laugh out loud?
Things my husband and grandchildren say. My husband’s quiet, wry sense of humor and his love of language leads to some hilarious quips. Our grandchildren are always coming up with actions or stories that make me laugh, too.
What smell do you love most, and why?
I love the clean pine scent of the forest, with snow run-off flowing over rocks in the background.
What book are you currently reading?
Queen Victoria, by Cecil Woodham-Smith. My husband read this and since we’ve been watching Victoria on television, the relationship between the Queen and Prince Albert intrigues me.
Do you usually insert a spiritual theme into your books? If so, do you have a favorite?
Because my heroines, so far at least, operate from a Christian-Judeo foundation, spirituality enters naturally. I think the concept of God being there for us through thick and thin is my favorite. Makes sense, because that’s always been the toughest one for me to embrace—and the most comforting.
Ponderosa Pine Forest, where Gail walks in the winter.
Where do you hide away when you want to pray, meditate, read, or just cuddle up with God?
I absolutely love to walk in the woods. Some people need ocean time, or love their cabin on the lake, but towering pines and a mountain in the distances do it for me.
Please share a verse of scripture that is especially meaningful to you, and why it is special.
Isaiah 63:9—In all their affliction He was afflicted, And the angel of His presence saved them; In His love and in His mercy He redeemed them, And He lifted them and carried them all the days of old. (NASB)
We all suffer in ways unique to us. The idea that our Lord shares our afflictions seems incredibly beautiful. He who created the universe and sustains life, deems to suffer when we suffer. How amazing is that?
Please share your conversion experience, if you’re comfortable doing so.
Faith grew in me before I even realized it. All the doubts and questions of my youth culminated in crying out for deliverance in several areas between high school and college. Answers came to me through Catherine Marshall’s book Beyond Ourselves.
Suddenly, spiritual things began to make sense.
Of course, I had SO very far to go on this journey, and I’m still at it. It’s not what I do, but what God does...ahh, heavenly!

About With Each New Dawn
In war-torn London, American Kate Isaac grieves her husband, awaits their child’s birth, and welcomes her best friend Addie. But after her miscarriage, a meeting with mysterious Monsieur le Blanc launches her into Britain’s Secret Operations Executive(SOE). In late 1943, Kate parachutes into Southern France to aid the Resistance. 
Domingo, a grieving Basque mountain guide-turned-saboteur, meets her parachute drop, tends her injured ankle, and carries her to safety. Reunited a few months later, they discover the injured Monsieur le Blanc who with his dying breath, reveals his familial connection to Kate. 
In the shadow of the Waffen SS, Domingo and Kate find his younger brother Gabirel missing. While Domingo seeks Gabirel, Domingo’s parish priest, Père Gaspard, creates a new identity for Kate. 
United once again, Kate and Domingo subject their mutual attraction to the cause. But can mere human will and moral courage change the war’s tide and forge a future for them?

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About the Author:
Gail Kittleson taught college expository writing and English as a Second Language. Now she writes memoir and women’s fiction, and facilitates writing workshops and women’s retreats. In northern Iowa, she and her husband enjoy grandchildren and gardening. In winter, the Arizona mountains provide new novel fodder.
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  1. Gail, it's a pleasure having you on Chirp and Chatter! Thank you for chatting with me. I enjoyed the interview.

  2. Great interview! It's fun getting to know authors as they answer the questions. I dislike house cleaning because it never stays that way lol.

    1. I hear you on the housecleaning thing! Just...futile! lol

      I'm glad you enjoy the author interviews. I like getting to know thrm, as well. Thank you for stopping by!